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Lumbar training: exercises and tips

Lumbar training: exercises and tips


Very often, we hear people around us complaining about "kidney pain". By kidney pain, they mean pain in the lower back. This painful area corresponds more precisely to the lumbar zone. The lumbar region lies above the buttocks, and is called upon to stabilize the body when standing upright, and especially when tilting the torso forwards or sideways. Of course, the lumbar vertebrae are also very much in demand during the lifting phase.

Lumbar anatomy

The lumbar vertebrae are made up of various muscles that extend the spinal column. The main muscles making up the lumbar region are the longus dorsi, the multifidus and the sacro lumbar. The upper part of these muscles attaches to the spinal column, while the lower part attaches to the sacrum and iliacus.


Low-back pain

Low-back pain is mainly due to :

  • Poor posture that puts too much strain on the lumbar vertebrae
  • A lack of muscle tone in this area. This is often associated with a lack of tone in the abdominal girdle.
  • Pregnancy. A woman with a baby, because of the postures she is forced to adopt, also suffers from lumbar strain.
  • Bad shoes.
  • Bags that are too heavy and carried too often.

This lack of abdominal support transfers all the sheathing work to the lumbar region, resulting in imbalance, excessive stress on the bones and consequent pain.

I'm going to give you some advice on how to strengthen your lumbar vertebrae, using various exercises that you can do at home or in the gym. This should be accompanied by abdominal work or better posture if you're a woman expecting a baby.

Strengthening lumbar muscles

Basic exercises

exercise 1: To start with, I'm going to introduce you to a strength-building exercise that you can do anywhere without any equipment. No need for benches, belts or other accessories. This exercise is isometric, i.e. you hold the position for a certain length of time.


Lie on the floor, flat on your stomach, body tense and arms at your sides. Raise your torso and legs a few centimetres so that only your belly and pelvis remain in contact with the floor. Once in this position, hold for 15 to 30 seconds before returning to the starting position. Do this exercise 5 times, with the time between each series varying from 30 seconds to 1 minute.

It's important to keep your neck in line with your spine, to avoid straining the cervical spine.

2nd exercise: here's a second strength-building exercise that can be performed without equipment, for gentle lumbar strengthening. No need for benches, belts or other accessories.


On all fours, with your thighs at right angles to your chest and your arms vertical to your shoulders, place your hands flat on the floor. Extend one leg and the opposite arm backwards, so that the leg and arm are aligned with the spine and neck. Hold this position for around 15 seconds, then do the same with the other two limbs.

It's important to keep your back flat and the back of your neck aligned, so as not to cause unnecessary tension. Repeat 5 times on each side, resting for one minute once both sides have been worked.

3rd lumbar exercise, which will require the use of a ball, but no bench, belt or other accessories.


Lying on a ball (available at low cost in stores) under your pelvis, with your body tense and your feet resting on the floor, cross your arms over your chest. In this position, tilt your torso forward until your head is just a few centimetres off the ground. From this position, return to the starting position, contracting your lumbar and gluteal muscles.

Control your movement and perform 5 sets of 15 repetitions, with 1 min rest between each set.

This exercise can be reproduced indoors using the Roman chair. The principle is the same, with the difference that the starting position is parallel to the floor and the feet are braced under the support, for greater stability.

Work on 5 sets of 15 repetitions to harden the work and provide additional lumbar resistance. It is possible to take a load in the arms.


It's important not to go beyond parallel to the ground, to avoid lumbar hyper-extension.

Let's move on to the "king" of lumbar workout movements, which are highly effective but require impeccable technique to avoid injury: the barbell deadlift (available at all commercial prices) .


This movement is highly effective, all the more so when a heavy load is involved. It's also notorious for the damage it can do to the lower back if perfect technique isn't followed.

Always start with an appropriate warm-up (gradual increase in load) before beginning the actual work. A full description of the technique was given in a previous article. You'll need to keep your abs and lumbar muscles well supported, never round your back during the exercise, and keep your knees well bent, while keeping the bar close to your shins and thighs as you raise and lower the load.

Note, of course, that these exercises are not recommended for women expecting a baby.

Tips for lumbar work

For strong lumbar support (the deadlift is ideal), work in short, heavy sets: 5 sets of 8 to 3 reps, increasing the load with each set. rest for 2 min 30 and you'll get good results.

To conclude, I'd say that a toned, muscular and powerful back and lumbar region in particular is the foundation of a strong body. The lumbar region is a pivotal zone. If it's underdeveloped, it quickly becomes your body's weakest link.

Whether you're an average person or a seasoned athlete, don't neglect your lumbar vertebrae and their antagonists, the abdominals, for quality sheathing and effective support.

Author Alexandre CARPENTIER

Bodybuilding Champion N.A.C 2012

Alexandre shares his bodybuilding experience with MegaGear blog readers